This week on NL Hafta, Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri, Manisha Pande, Mehraj D Lone, and Raman Kirpal are joined by Hartosh Singh Bal, political editor of the Caravan magazine.
The discussion starts off with the farmers’ tractor rally on Republic Day. Hartosh says, “I was not surprised that the route was broken on the morning of the rally. Anybody who was following the protests with a degree of closeness knew this was going to happen.”
Manisha says: “You have a situation where there are a bunch of young people, you see everyday how you’re being vilified by television media, you see that the government is not listening to you and you want to be heard. A pressure cooker kind of a situation is created, which is bound to burst.”
Mehraj says that part of the responsibility does lie with the farmer leaders because they built up expectations. “But what we shouldn’t lose sight of is that the primary responsibility for this lies with the government," he says. "This protest didn’t start on the 26th.”
Moving on to threats received by journalist Neha Dixit and bail being denied to comedian Munawar Faruqui, Abhinandan says: “The whole fear psychosis has worked. Many people who could speak up have decided not to.”
In the context of Facebook’s decision to permanently stop recommending political groups to its users, Abhinandan asks how hate speech should be dealt with on social media. “Facebook reacts differently in each country,” Raman says. “Here, in India, if a political leader gives a speech that contains hate, unless it triggers something, I don’t think it will ever be brought down.”
The discussion also spans the public impact of media narratives and the incompetence of primetime anchors.
to the NL Legal Fund.
What’s included in my subscription?
Independent journalism is not possible until you pitch in. We have already seen what happens in ad-funded models: Journalism takes a backseat and gets sacrificed at the altar of clicks and TRPs.
Stories cost perseverance, time and resources.